Creative Cape Town – end of an era or a brand new beginning?


Many of the Cape Town Partnership’s projects have had a lasting impact on the Mother City, but there is one that stands head and shoulders above the rest: Creative Cape Town.

Started in 2006 to help unlock the potential of Cape Town’s blossoming creative economy, the platform served a variety of purposes – coordinating events, connecting people and communicating relevant news via the website and social media.

It proved to be an invaluable asset to anyone plying their trade in the creative industry and quickly racked – and continued to – a massive social media following.

In celebration of a job well done, we take a look at a few of Creative Cape Town’s brightest moments:

Pop-up Concerts

Dullah Ibrahim Church square 13_01_2015 C S_Aflreds-3

In 2008 and 2009, we collaborated with the Cape Town International Jazz Festival to present a week of music in the CBD as a lead up to the popular free Community Jazz Festival. On two of the days, St George’s Mall was transformed into a feast of pop-up performances, as local acts got office workers jigging and jiving during their lunch hour.

One standout performance during this time was a group featuring a talented female vocalist, who seemed to deserve more than busking outside the Woolworths in St George’s Mall. Turns out they did, as Die Antwoord, as they then became known, proved a few months later!

Creative Clusters

Creative Clusters

As the need for more robust creative industry networking events arose, Creative Clusters came into being in 2008. These inspiring events played an important role in fostering connections and collaborations among local designers and the like and became a forum for knowledge exchange and debate. The platform was revived in 2014 as a valuable addition to the World Design Capital events happening throughout the city.

Creative Cape Town Annual

CCT annual

Launched in 2009, the Creative Cape Town Annual provided a snapshot of the creative economy in the city and served to inform, inspire and advocate for the sector’s needs. The glossy journal had a reputation for being expertly researched and filled with interesting articles, interviews and quality images. Published by Bell Roberts, it was distributed for free during Creative Week and given to delegates attending the Loerie Awards.

Cape Town Design Route

design route

Another momentous occasion in 2009 was the launch of the Cape Town Design Route in partnership with Cape Town Tourism and Interactive Africa (managers of Design Indaba).

The concept was to give visitors an opportunity to meander between 46 of the city’s top design outlets and destinations.

An official map was released during Design Indaba and became permanently available at all Cape Town Tourism Visitor Information Centres throughout the city.

Creative Week

Creative Week

Crowdsourced by Capetonians and coordinated by Creative Cape Town, Creative Week was an annual event taking place over nine days in September. It offered local creatives an opportunity to experience and contribute to the city’s energy and diversity.

At the time, Cape Town Partnership CEO, Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, described it as follows: “This city is bursting at the seams with people and collectives who are doing creative and interesting things all the time. Creative Week opens up this energy, giving creatives a platform and explorers an exciting window into the culture of Cape Town right now.”

Design Dialogues

Design Dialogues

Grounded in Cape Town’s unique context and covering topics that would contribute to the growth, sustainability and general well-being of the creative industries, Design Dialogues was a platform for asking tough questions, making critical appraisals and considering South Africa’s unique offering within the global context.

These regular events created a space for emerging creatives to gain knowledge from thought leaders, as well as an opportunity to network, interact and forge cross-sector connections.

It was produced in partnership with the Cape Town Design Network.

World Design Capital

live design

The Partnership and Creative Cape Town played an instrumental role in ensuring that the Mother City put in a successful bid for the honour of being named World Design Capital 2014. Part of the process was producing a document known as the ‘Bid Book’. Comprising an introduction, stating the case for Cape Town and the way it has used design to help rebuild the city through community cohesion, followed by three chapters, each delving in a bit deeper into communities, infrastructure and the future, the book became – and remains – an invaluable document for the city’s creative industry.

Creative Cape Town App

Creative Cape Town App signup page

The app came about in the context of our WDC2014 project to map Cape Town’s creative industries and serve as a virtual space for connection. At that time we recognised the need to have better insight into the economic trends at play in the local creative industries and wanted to help. Free to download, the app allowed users to access details (including the geographical location) of businesses and individual service providers spanning the breadth of the local creative sector. It also provided an accessible platform for the advertising of vacancies and an easy-to-use quick overview of local creative industries for visitors.


Over the years, Creative Cape Town enjoyed a number of influential and value-adding collaborations with events and organisations. Here are a few of the most prominent:

DI Speakers Day 3 Morning-3

From helping spread the word about the festival to a joint effort in mapping Cape Town’s creative industry, Creative Cape Town had a long and fruitful understanding with Design Indaba.

Offering a range of (mostly) free talks and activations in the City Hall and surrounding spaces over 12 days every year, Open Design is one of the most inspirational events on Cape Town’s creative calendar. We joined forces with them in a communications capacity and relished the opportunity to help profess design’s ability to unify a city that often seems intrinsically divided.

Taking over the inner city with public art every year, Infecting the City has played a major role in cultivating an appreciation for performance art, with Creative Cape Town as a dedicated media partner.

So much more than a massive street party, Cape Town Carnival does amazing work in local communities, creating jobs, inspiring participation and uplifting through creativity. Since it started in 2010, we’ve enjoyed spreading the word about the incredible positive impact this festival continues to have in Cape Town.

Interviews with up-and-coming artists

In the past two years, Creative Cape Town has emerged as a truly influential online publication, featuring interviews with the Mother City’s rising stars – from comedians and cartoonists to YouTube celebrities and photographers.

 While it may seem like the end for Cape Town Partnership and Creative Cape Town, we’re hoping that it turns out to be a new beginning of sorts. Something exciting to look forward to! 

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